the grass is greener on the internet


A blog job you don’t need to write for
February 11, 2009, 6:04 pm
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I’ve been asked a few times how I got my current job at Brandcurve.

Simple: I kept my eyes open.

I needed a job that I could do from any location, and it made sense to start getting paid for something I was already doing.

So here’s a heads up…

Startup Princess is looking for a blog manager.

You don’t even need to write much. (Although writing skills would definitely be helpful.) But mostly it seems to be about being responsive to the blogs regular writers, handling their multimedia and ads etc. Honestly, for a first-timer the renumeration is pretty good.

For anyone looking at other roles, I strongly recommend Problogger’s boards.

A few tips though:

  • Once something is online, it’s online. Consider your personal brand before taking something up.
  • As part of that – always check out the website before applying.
  • For any blogging job it will help if you have your own blog – it’s free and it shows you can do it.
  • The most common platform is wordpress – get familiar with it.
  • Having multiple blogs linking to each other is good for your page rankings.
  • Having multiple blogs you don’t have time to write for properly is just not worth it.
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Personal branding audit
December 3, 2008, 5:22 pm
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I’ve realised it’s about time to take my personal branding a bit more seriously. I’ve hit four months of writing this blog (yay!), a month of paid blogging and about one and a half years of independent consulting (however casual).

It’s tough trying to stand for a set of core values when you’re doing a lot of different things – activities shouldn’t be confused with values, but it can come across that way. Just like Enron lost its way by diversifying…

For example, Brandcurve is starting to take up more time – made a 10 place gain on the Power 150 then lost it again all in the last week. (Interestingly, one place ahead of one of my favourite reads, Brains on Fire…and two points behind another favourite, Servant of Chaos.) It’s more of a web journalism blog than this one, and focusses on American small business. Sometimes I feel like it’s not my blog, it’s just A blog and I’m the writer. Time to change that.

Oh, and I just found an old resume…

“Personal statement: I am a self-motivated and innovative individual constantly striving to improve both myself and my performance. I aim to be efficient, effective, reliable and responsible but above all to have a positive impact through my dealings with others.

Unfortunately what it says, if you look past face value, is something like…

“I yearn to be a dictionary.”

Underneath my issue of creating new business cards is the far more scary issue: my personal brand is a shambles.

So…what now?

Time for a rebrand…



how good you say you are
December 1, 2008, 5:44 pm
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Two problems:

1) I need new business cards.

2) Someone has ‘indefinitely borrowed’ my copy of Arden’s ‘IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE’

Anyone familiar with that book knows that there is a section on business cards and the importance of how good you say you are.

For me the ‘correct’ job titles would be ‘paid blogger’ (boring, geeky), ‘marketing and business development consultant’ (only just, and how many of those are there?) or ‘student’ (not worth putting on a card).

I really don’t want to put any of those on my business card.

Business cards are all at once the most and least important parts of networking.

On one hand, if you’re a brilliant networker who knows exactly how to play the game, having a strategically designed card is immaterial. They will contact you regardless. It’s said that only the most junior and most senior people don’t have cards – the juniors haven’t got them yet and the high-rankers don’t need them.

On the other hand, an interesting card can be the differentiator that gets a sale or new relationship. I know of a company which took the strategy of having very unconventional business cards – it made them memorable and secured several deals.

Personal branding is arguably one of the most difficult types of branding.

On the upside, you have full control of the product.

On the downside, the market is highly competitive.

It’s interesting to see how people describe themselves in blog headers or twitter, where (like business cards) their description has limited space.

Seth Godin, king of the concise, describes himself as ‘Author, Agent of Change’.

Gavin Heaton (aka Servant of Chaos) is ‘using stories to bring brands and consumers together’.

Best blog title would be ‘Don’t tell my mum I’m in advertising – she thinks I play piano in a brothel‘.

None of these state exactly what they do, but you still understand.

My own description? ‘Like Ogilvy, believes in long copy.’

Time for something new, though. Any suggestions?



Personal branding II:: differentiation tactics
September 6, 2008, 8:17 pm
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How far would go/what would you do to get a marketing job?

You’d be a pretty bad marketer if you couldn’t sell the product you know best:: yourself.

It’s one of the things I absolutely love about marketing, that you can do completely crazy things with your job applications and it actually counts in your favour. Making them notice you just demonstrates that you’re good at what you do. Filling out forms online for a job at the iBank of the moment? What does that tell you about the position?

I’ve heard various stories; camping outside offices, creating a personal ‘little red book’, building large novelty objects.

They’re all attention grabbers, and therefore probably great for advertising, but each of these would say something different about you and what you can do for the organisation.

The very best stunts are those that demonstrate what you can do. If you’re trying to say you can advertise, advertise. If you’re trying to say you’re a social media expert, demonstrate your abilities with social media. If you’re trying to say you can strategise, create a strategically-oriented application. It will stand out not just because it’s different but because it shows you know what you’re doing.

The last app I did up was to intern at one of the major ad agencies in planning…ironically it was how I realised I loved branding. They called me in for an interview and basically said, we can give you a shot in planning. But we think you might be more interested in our associated branding agency. As it turned out, I was. [Unfortunately after confirming the internship, they restructured and could no longer take me. Gotta love the business world.]

I did get asked by a (non-marketing) friend whether doing a non-standard application would count against me with a company…and you know what? If I’ve misjudged them and they reject me for being creative, then they’re not the type of company that I want to work for in the first place.



Personal branding:: the next big thing?
September 1, 2008, 6:07 pm
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Maybe it’s just because I’ve been thinking about jobs lately, but I think the next big trend might be personal branding.

At the ‘how to get a job in marketing’ talk at Marketing Week, it was mentioned that going to recruitment consultants is the obvious way to go but not necessarily the best. Like a company listing in the Yellow Pages. What’s the value proposition? What are the values that define you as a brand?

A lot of things are now being sold on pure cult of personality, mostly celebs. Paris. Beckham. Posh. You all know who I’m talking about, and they turnover product purely through personality. Why? They’ve established a personal brand with massive brand equity

Personal branding is more effective for social marketing, too. It’s easier to stand for something, to be trusted, and to interact with your target market, if you’re an individual with a recognisable personality. Just ask Perez. Or Xiaxue. Of course, the downside is that they can’t interact with everyone, which could limit conversations, but it puts more value in those conversations.

Hmm. Sometimes I wonder if Interbrand will measure personal brand equity. Or even blog brand equity…